Back in mid-February, my husband and I made our quarterly trek out to Costco. We got necessary items like toilet paper and dishwasher tablets, as well as a number of not-so-necessary things like 96 ounces of dried blueberries and ten pounds of Cara Cara oranges.
I adore Cara Caras for their pink flesh and sweet/tart flavor. But as the sole fruit eater in my household, ten pounds is a lot to move through in a timely fashion. A preserving project was in order.
My natural first thought was marmalade, but it’s an awful lot of work and my time was decidedly short. Then I remembered citrus jam. It’s something I’ve made in the past with grapefruit to delicious results and I had a feeling that it would work just as well with the Cara Cara oranges.
There’s still a bit of knife work to be done with orange jam, but it’s far less fiddly. You cut the tops and bottoms off the fruit and then cut away the peel to reveal the fruit inside. Once the citrus sections are bare, you use a sharp knife to segment (or supreme, if you want to use the fancy term) out the pieces.
When you’re all done, you should have a number of beautiful orange half moons, a stack of peels, and a limp pile of membranes and seeds. I like to pack the peels into a large jar and cover them with white vinegar. After a couple weeks of steeping, you’ll have orange-scented vinegar cleaner.
I sweetened my jam with honey, because I like to avoid refined sugar when possible. However, if honey isn’t your thing, you could also use 2 cups of sugar. If you do opt for the honey, make sure to use one that has a mild flavour, so that it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the fruit.
|Honey Sweetened Cara Cara Orange Jam|| || |
- 4 pounds Cara Cara oranges
- 1 1/3 cups mild honey
- juice of one lemon
- Prepare 3 half pint jars and lids. Because this is a small batch, the yield might vary a little. I’ve made it once where I got three half pint jars, and another time I only got two half pints and one quarter pint.
- Trim off the tops and bottoms of the oranges and cut away the peels. Using a sharp knife, separate the orange flesh from the membranes. Make sure to work over a bowl or measuring cup, so that you can catch all the juice. Once you’ve removed all the fruit from the membranes, give them a good squeeze over your bowl to wring out the last of the juice.
- Measure out four cups of the segmented fruit and juice. Add the honey and stir until it dissolves into the fruit.
- Pour the fruit and honey mixture into a low, wide pan or skillet and place over medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil and cooking, stirring regularly, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken.
- You know it’s done when you can pull your spatula through the cooking jam and it doesn’t immediately rush into fill the space you cleared.
- Stir in the lemon juice in the last minute or two of cooking.
- When jam is finished, remove the pan from the heat. Funnel the jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- Once jars have cooled enough to handle, check the seals. If they are good, the jam is shelf stable for up to a year. If any jars do not seal, put them in the fridge and use promptly.
I like this jam for sweetening plain yogurt or spreading into English muffins or scones. How would you use it?